Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Quick Peek at the New Saddleback Glade - Wolly Bugger

This fall @MaineSkiFamily helped out the volunteer sawyers and mountain staff to help create a new Saddleback glade skiers left of Red Devil. You can view our fall glade work report here. The volunteer crew and mountain management kept with the fly fishing tradition of trail names and named this glade Wolly Bugger.

Quick Pic from an Early Skier of the  Wolly Bugger Glade
This weekend, the glade was open for the first time. We were at Saddleback on Saturday and didn't realize the glade was open, but we were having too much fun off the NW Pass to think about investigating its status fully. Next time we will be sure to check out Wolly Bugger and share our adventures. 

Fortunately some of the folks that did most of the hard work in the glade got first tracks in which is most appropriate. Some of the reports from the skiers and riders that experienced Wolly Bugger are:
  • It was great!
  • It was cool - Tight at the top some good drop downs.
  • It has a whole different feel than any other glade on the hill.
  • Liked it so much skied it twice!
  • Longer than I imagined ..with some good pitch and lots of big features...
We are looking forward to experiencing Wolly Bugger for the first time as well! Congrats and thanks to the volunteers and mountain crew for making this glade a reality this winter!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Saddleback Stellar Opening Day - December 13, 2014

Click here for non-mobile version.

Let's review some past 'first days' at Saddleback and what the open trails and skiing conditions were.

December 18, 2011 - Trails open - Gray Ghost and Wheeler

December 15, 2012 - Trails Open - Gray Ghost, Royal Coachman, Wheeler

December 27, 2013 - We missed opening day, but only Gray Ghost, Royal Coachman, Wheeler, Royal Tiger and a couple of Natural Trials were open at this point.

Then there was December 13, 2014.

Earlier in the week there was a pretty big storm. Dumped 13+" followed by a bit of a warm up then freeze. Perfect to lock in the base. Then the days leading up to opening day 2-4 inches fell. Nice fluff on top. We were looking forward to heading up.

The day before opening Saddleback posts 55 trials will be open? Whaaat? Sounded great. I still thought it would be typical early season / dodge everything skiing. And no way the glades would be in any decent shape to ski. We went to bed with weather forecasts calling for an inch or two in the mountains overnight.

Then we woke up and drove through this.

To do this!

YES! It was an epic opening day. The most remarkable thing was the glades. All the glades from the NW pass on down (see my Saddleback Trail Guide for a complete description of all the trails) were in mid-winter form. The solid base provided awesome protection against the forest floor and the 8"+ on top made for epic tree skiing. Governor from the NW Pass was is mid-winter form as well.

The snow made trails (Royal Coachman, Gray Ghost, Wheeler, Royal Tiger) were wall to wall fun. The natural trails skied unbelievably well for December 13. You had to dodge around the water bars and things a bit, but it was extremely good. All the beginner trails below the Quad were groomed and available too. It was a modest crowd so it was ski-on to the lift all day.

Oh but the trees....

Winter is off to a great start for sure! Check out the video below for more fun in the snow.

Here are the trail names with video times:

0:20 Royal Coachman
0:40 Golden Smelt
1:00 Jane Craig
1:10 Glade Left of Jane Craig
1:50 Nightmare Glade
2:50 Intimidator Glade
3:25 Governor
4:30 Nightmare Glade

Monday, December 8, 2014

Caiden Shea - Backyard Snowmaking

Caiden Shea - a fan of A Family Skiing in Maine was recently featured in a news story by WCSH6 about his backyard snow making system. Caiden is friends with the @MaineSkiFamily Salisbury boys. We took him with us to Baxter State Park last summer and had a great time.

Caiden is a great kid with a bright future of whatever he wants to put his mind to... in this case SNOW MAKING! This 2 minute clip is highly worth watching. Great job Caiden and the Salisbury boys make a cameo at 0:45.

You can view the story directly on the WCSH6 website by clicking here.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

2014-15 Maine Ski Mountain Reviews

I have done a quick update for the 2014-15 ski season my mountain reviews. I go over the parking, lodge, terrain, lift ticket pricing and give each mountain on overall letter grade based on our opinion. Check them out and let me know what you think!

You should also check out this Portland Press Herald article by Josh Christie about ski area improvements for the 2014-15 season. Here is the link.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Opening the 2014-15 ski season at Sugarloaf

The @MaineSkiFamily crew got the 2014-15 ski season started off right with a couple of day-trips to Sugarloaf. Our first foray was Sunday November 23rd for some warmer weather turns, and today Saturday November 28th featured more winter like conditions with a fresh coat of snow to play in.

Old Man on Kings Landing
Sugarloaf has done a great job getting terrain open. Both trips had Superquad and Skyline turning
servicing Gondi Line, Hayburner, Kings Landing and Tote Road; 4 legit ways down from the top. While last Sunday was warm and the snow a bit manky, today featured firm fast groomer with lots of 'side stash' to play in. The traffic was modest, no lift lines, no waiting and the trails held up today until about 1:30pm where they started to show ice from the mid-week thaw and freeze. But overall for the time of year, both days featured plenty of terrain and a very satisfying day skiing.

The boys are skiing new sticks this year (Line Prophets & Volkl Bridges) and they are very happy with them and are looking forward to slaying some Powder with them later this year.

Here is a video my son put together. The Maine Ski Season is off to a great start!

Skiing Sugarloaf - November 28th from Alec Salisbury Photo & Video on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Saddleback Red Devil Glade Oct 15 Update

The volunteers and mountain crew are making great progress on the new glade up at Saddleback. Isaac and I helped out in September, and they made a big push over the Columbus day weekend. Here is a note from Peter Stein who is organizing the volunteers.

I am happy to report that we actually broke through to Bee Wee Pass this weekend!!!  

The attached shows the approximate region that is now to first order skiable thanks to all who volunteered (and a bit of help from Jared and the mountain crew!!).   There was a bit more cutting by the mountain crew that I have not surveyed, and some of the line up to Bee Wee pass from the Red Devil tree island needs some thinning out.   But we definitely have a new glade with an entrance and an exit all the way from Bee Wee Pass to Hudson Highway – which rivals the length of Casablanca.   The wider lower part is the main glade area.  The lower line leading through from the tree island on Red Devil to the main glade area is an all downhill entrance.   The upper line from the tree island is a traverse with a little bit of an uphill section.   The line down from Bee Wee Pass is narrow and goes through a really cool section of large boulders.   

Peter is also planning one more weekend of cutting.

We are planning our last two days of cutting this Saturday and Sunday (18 and 19 October).   There is still a lot of work we can do to make this better.   This includes widening out the top of the main glade region, thinning out the top down from Bee Wee pass, creating a traverse over to the upper section that can be reached from the T-Bar, and doing a bunch of cleaning up.    

Please let me know if you will make it this Saturday.   Unless you hear otherwise, we start at 7:30 at the bottom of the new glade on Hudson Highway.   Training is still available Saturday morning for those who have not had their first day.

Peter can be reached at pstein@scisol.com. It is hard work but also great fun to be creating something cool on the mountain!.

This is going to be really fun to ski! Thanks to Peter, all the volunteers and Saddleback for making this happen!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

2014 Maine Ski Swaps

Last updated November 16, 2014

Here is the 2014 edition of the @MaineSkiFamily ski swap guide. Over the past three years, I have

posted dates, times and locations of Maine based ski swaps and I am doing the same for 2014. It is by far the most popular pages on my blog so I am happy to do it again this year.

The Ski Swap Line - A sign of winter to come!
To get an idea of when the ski swaps happened last year you can review the 2013 swap page. I expect the schedule to largely be the same but I am sure there will be some differences. As I confirm the 2014 ski swaps, I will post them below.

If you are new to ski swaps, you can read my post on Ski Swap Strategies.

Happy Swapping!


8th - Freeport Schools Ski Boosters Winter Sports Equipment Swap and Sale is November 8th from 1pm - 3pm at the Freeport High School cafeteria. Drop off times are 4pm to 7pm November 7th and 10am - 1pm November 8th. FMI click here.

8th - Courtesy of MaineHighSchoolSkiing.com, Cape Elizabeth Alpine team is hosting a ski swap on November 8th from 9am - 1pm in the Cape Elizabeth Middle School cafeteria. Drop off for skis to sell is Friday, Nov. 7th 5-7pm.

9th - Brunswick Park and Recreation 46th Annual Ski Sale will be at Brunswick Landing from 1pm - 4pm. Click here FMI.

15th - Pinnacle Ski Club in Pittsfield has a ski swap annually the third Saturday in November from 9am–4pm Drop off items on the Friday before from 6pm–9pm. Keep an eye on their website for more info.

16thThe 51st annual Auburn Ski Association Ski Swap will be held on Sunday, November 16 from 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at Auburn Middle School on Falcon Drive in Auburn. Check out their website for more info.

22nd - Yarmouth Ski Boosters will have their annual swap from 9am - 12pm at Yarmouth Elementary School. Consignment drop off is Friday, November 21 from 5p - 8p at the same location. FMI contact gmelder1@gmail.com

22nd - 23rd - Camden Snow Bowl has a ski swap over the weekend at Camden Hills Regional High School (new location). Keep an eye on this website for more info.

29th - Downeast Ski Club ski sale is held annually the Saturday after Thanksgiving at the Portland Expo. More info here.


6th - Courtesy of MaineHighSchoolSkiing.com, the annual Greely Ski Swap/Sale will be held from 9am to 1pm on Saturday Dec. 6th at the Greely High School in Cumberland. Consignment drop-offs will be accepted:  Wed. Dec. 3rd, Thurs. Dec. 4th, and Fri. Dec. 5th from 6pm to 8pm. FMI email Liz Otley ( eotley1@maine.rr.com)

7th - Courtesy of MaineHighSchoolSkiing.com, The Annual Falmouth Ski Club winter equipment sale will be held on Sunday, December 7 from 12:00-3:00 in the Falmouth Middle School cafeteria. Equipment drop off will be Saturday, December 6 from 5:00 to 7:00. FMI email mcantlin@maine.rr.com or etchellsfleet27@gmail.com

As I receive confirmation of other 2014 swaps I will be updating this blog post. Feel free to comment on the post if you know of other Maine based swaps that are happening and I will update the list.

Prior 2014 Swaps


12th - CVA up at Sugarloaf will hold its annual ski swap on the Saturday of Columbus Day Weekend (October 11th) from 10:00am to 2:30pm. Click here for more info.
  • While not exactly a ski swap, the Ski-Depot in Jay, Maine will be having a tent sale Columbus Day weekend. Might be worth stopping by on your way up or back from Sugarloaf. More info here.
18th - The Penobscot Valley Ski Club is holding a Ski Swap / Sale at the Bangor Armory from 9AM - 4PM. Click here for more info.

24th-25th - The Bethel Outing Club is having their 34th annual a ski swap  / sale over two days. Click here for more info.

25th - Gorham Bike and Ski in Portland will have a used ski sale from 10am to 1pm. Click here for more info.

25th - via MaineHighSchoolSkiing.com the Scarborough Alpine/Nordic Ski Club  ski sale/swap on Saturday, Oct. 25th at Scarborough Middle School cafeteria. 9:00am-3:00pm.